September 10, 2012

State Roundup, September 10, 2012

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NEW DISTRICTS IN PLACE: Even if Maryland voters reject the congressional redistricting plan on the November General Election ballot, the new districts will remain in place until the 2014 election, David Paulson of the Maryland Attorney General’s Office told Christian Alexandersen for the Carroll County Times.

GAMBLING SCHOOL MONEY: School spending in Maryland won’t increase just because more money is expected to flow into its Education Trust Fund through an expansion of gambling, writes Ben Giles in the Washington Examiner.

SELF-BANISH: The number of people who have willingly and officially banned themselves from Maryland’s casinos – with a penalty of arrest for trespassing should they violate the ban – has surpassed 120, reports Steve Kilar of the Sun. This exclusion program is expected to grow.

TACKLING DEL. BURNS: John Wagner of the Post blogs that the punter for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings has joined the scrimmage over same-sex marriage in Maryland, writing a hard-hitting letter to one of the measure’s most vocal opponents, Del. Emmett Burns.

After drawing national attention for his attempt to muzzle a football player who supported gay rights, Burns walked back his position yesterday and said Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo should be allowed to speak out in favor of same-sex marriage.

MD JOBS PROBLEM: Northern Virginia and the District have churned out new jobs at a respectable pace in the past year, while suburban Maryland is lagging far behind, writes Robert McCartney in the Post. The imbalance particularly worsens our highway congestion since many Marylanders who can’t find work in their home state jam the Beltway commuting to jobs in Northern Virginia.

DEFENSE JOBS: From Northrop Grumman to Lockheed Martin, from general contractors in Maryland to their subcontractors and the small businesses that make widgets or provide services to all of the above, military contracts are their lifeblood, writes Alex Jackson of the Capital-Gazette. The prospect that some of that lifeblood will stop flowing is spreading jitters throughout the defense sector, which accounts for 4%of the state’s workforce — some 91,000 employees.

TECH JOBS: Anne Kramer is reporting for WBAL-AM that a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility is expected to create 100 high tech jobs over the next four years in Howard County.

FRACKING: With time ticking away and still no money to pay for scientific studies of hydraulic fracturing, a Montgomery County lawmaker plans to ensure natural gas companies don’t run out the clock on a drilling moratorium ordered by Gov. O’Malley, reports Alexander Pyles of the Daily Record.

DRUMMING UP VOTES: With Maryland expected to give its 10 electoral votes in November to President Barack Obama, activists from both parties are fanning out to Pennsylvania, Virginia and battlegrounds beyond to drum up votes for their candidates.

PREDICTING THE PRESIDENT: Len Lazarick of MarylandReporter.com writes that while campaigns are important, the fundamentals of governing are much more important. He continues that that’s why he enjoys Professor Allan Lichtman’s 13 “Keys to the White House,” now out in a new 2012 edition, “Predicting the Next President.”

DEMS IN CARROLL: After spending days with like-minded people at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Democrats Scott Markle and Corynne Courpas return today to Republican-controlled Carroll County. Christian Alexandersen interviews the couple for the Carroll County Times.

ELECTION GUIDE: The Sun’s 2012 Election Guide offers up Maryland’s congressional and Senate candidates and their answers to issue questions.

INDEPENDENT IN SENATE RACE: News outlets are buzzing about a new competitor for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Ben Cardin and being sought by Republican challenger Dan Bongino, blogs David Moon for Maryland Juice. WBAL reports that businessman Rob Sobhani has gathered over 77,000 signatures and will appear on the Maryland ballot as an independent.

BONGINO FUNDER: Candidate Dan Bongino was treated to a fundraiser on Friday on the Tred Avon River. The Easton Star-Democrat has a photo gallery of the event.

DELANEY STRIKES BACK: Democrat John Delaney is on the air with his first radio and television ads of his general election campaign as he seeks to rebut charges being leveled against him by his Republican foe, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett.

RESIGN: Although Rep. Bartlett has apologized for invoking the Holocaust during a discussion of student loans, a middle-class economics advocacy group is calling for him to resign, writes Nicholas Stern for the Frederick News Post.

DOWNHILL RUN: The editorial board for the Frederick News Post opines that campaigns in Western Maryland’s 6th congressional district have loaded their cannons and are aiming below the waterline.

SALMONELLA: Eastern Shore residents are three times more likely to get sickened by salmonella than the rest of Maryland, and the area’s poultry industry may be at least partly to blame, experts say, reports Jeremy Cox for the Salisbury Daily Times.

OT IN FREDERICK: Overtime pay for Frederick County employees grew by almost 19% in fiscal 2012 compared with the previous year, an increase driven largely by a fire and rescue service that relied on extra work hours to plug staffing gaps, Bethany Rodgers reports for the Frederick News Post.

ON LEOPOLD: Columnist Pat Furguson of the Capital-Gazette writes that charges that Arundel County Exec John Leopold harassed female employees make him look more like a throwback to 50 years ago, not someone who has evolved.